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THE WEEK (Sept. 19-25)
Herman Weiskopf
October 04, 1976
NL EAST
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October 04, 1976

The Week (sept. 19-25)

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CIN 99-56 LA 88-67 HOUS 77-79 SF 71-86 SD 69-86 ATL 68-88

AL WEST

Although Kansas City (3-3) could not prove anything, it did cling to a five-game lead over Oakland (4-3). After Amos Otis had been hit in the head with a pitch and Hal McRae had been dusted off—both in the first inning of the opener of a three-game series against the A's in Kansas City—the Royals were convinced that the A's Stan Bahnsen was throwing beanballs. They could not prove it, just as they could not prove later in the game that the A's were stealing their catcher's signals: a pair of binoculars was found in Oakland's outfield bullpen. Still, the Royals came away with a measure of satisfaction, taking that contest 3-1 to widen their lead to seven games. With Vida Blue tossing a six-hitter and supported by three homers, Oakland came back to win the next night 11-1. Then, as the A's stole six bases and Mike Torrez pitched a five-hitter, Oakland won 8-1 to reduce the Royals' lead to five games. The next day Kansas City beat the Rangers 2-1, McRae driving in the winning run in the 14th inning and Larry Gura hurling five innings of shutout relief. Coupled with Oakland's 4-2 loss to Chicago, that pushed K.C. six games up. On Saturday, it was the A's turn to gain ground; they trimmed the White Sox 7-4 while the Royals lost 1-0 to Bert Blyleven of the Rangers (4-4). For Blyleven it was his sixth shutout and the sixth 1-0 game he has been involved in this season, three of which he has won.

Shutouts were also recorded by rookie Pete Redfern (3-0 over Chicago on three hits) and Dave Goltz (6-0 over California on two hits) of Minnesota (5-0). After the Minnesota Vikings installed extra seats in left field at Metropolitan Stadium, the Twins got permission from the AL to move the fence in. Dan Ford took advantage of the altered architecture by poking his 20th homer into the new porch in Goltz'victory.

Frank Tanana and Nolan Ryan of California (2-4) came through with three-hit wins over Texas. Ryan also picked up his 300th strikeout to become the first pitcher ever to do so in four seasons. Those who had been tied with Ryan were Tim Keefe in the 1880s. Amos Rusie in the 1890s and Sandy Koufax in the 1960s.

Wilbur Wood of Chicago (1-5), who was shelved for the season after his left kneecap was shattered on May 9, reinjured the leg while running near his home and underwent surgery.

KC 89-66 OAK 84-71 MINN 81-75 CAL 71-85 TEX 71-85 CHI 64-92

AL EAST

"I don't expect it to happen, but if it does, [Owner George] Steinbrenner will have us working in Mongolia," said Outfielder Lou Piniella of New York (3-6). "It ain't so funny," added Manager Billy Martin between laughs. This was the Yankees' way of trying to forget a losing streak that grew to six games after Catfish Hunter chalked up his 200th win by beating the Brewers 2-1. Catcher Thurman Munson helped save Hunter's victory by picking a runner off third who would have scored on a subsequent fly ball. In the midst of that slump were four losses to Baltimore (5-2), including an 11-8 extra-inning game in which the Yankees once held a 7-0 lead. Baltimore climbed to within 6� games of first when Wayne Garland followed the sweep of the league-leaders with a 3-0 conquest of Boston for his 19th win. The Yankees stopped worrying about forced labor in Mongolia when Grant Jackson muzzled the Tigers 8-0 as Graig Nettles slugged his league-leading 30th homer, to enable New York to sew up first place. The reappearance in the starting lineup of injured MVP candidate Mickey Rivers seemed to have a salubrious effect on the Yankees. In the games Rivers has started, the Yanks are 84-48; in the games he hasn't, they are 10-13.

Third-place Cleveland (5-1) battled to keep Boston (6-1) at bay. The Indians got two wins from Pat Dobson (16-12) and shutouts from Jim Bibby and Dennis Eckersley. A dozen home runs were hit by the Red Sox, three by Jim Rice, who batted .485 during the week. While his team was rising to the occasion, Manager Don Zimmer was taking pratfalls. Zimmer, under heavy medication because of muscle spasms, decided to protest an umpire's call, but tripped over the dugout steps, fell, got up, continued out on the field, only to stumble on first base and flop on his face.

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